News

Our defenders at the CIA

(Jewish Ideas Daily) — News flash: Top-secret intelligence memos written during the last years of the Bush administration describe covert activities — in intelligence parlance, a “false flag” operation — by Israeli Mossad officers, posing as American CIA agents, who recruited assassins from Jundallah, an obscure Pakistan-based Sunni Muslim… Read more »

Birth control fights return to campaign, with Jews in key posts

WASHINGTON (JTA) – Birth control is rapidly gaining steam as an election-year wedge issue, with Jewish advocates lobbying out front and behind the scenes in what is shaping up as a clash between calls for individual freedom and religious liberty. Several Jewish groups and lawmakers played a behind-the-scenes role… Read more »

New book frames debate on conversion

NEW YORK (N.Y. Jewish Week) — The issue of who can become a Jew through conversion is controversial and critical to determining the essence of the Jewish character, and as timely as the current headlines from Jerusalem. But as two rabbinic scholars — one Reform and one Conservative —… Read more »

In Israel, composting and recycling programs in new ecology push

JERUSALEM (JTA) — The still-new recycling center in the Givat Shaul neighborhood of Jerusalem is fairly quiet on a crisp winter afternoon. Several people drive in to drop off their recycling — from old printers and batteries to aluminum pans, plastic containers and cardboard — in bins clearly labeled… Read more »

Silicon Wadi: Israeli high-tech explored at California conference

SAN FRANCISCO (j weekly) — Ronni Zehavi got quite a Chanukah present in December. On Dec. 11, he sold Contendo, a Web services company he co-founded in Israel four years ago, to Akamai, a major global high-tech player. Sale price: $268 million. Score one for the startup nation. Contendo… Read more »

New technology points to missing Holocaust-era mass graves at Treblinka

Each stone at the Treblinka memorial represents a Jewish town or city that had its people exterminated at the camp. (Little Savage via CC)

(JTA) — Scientists using ground-probing electronics may have discovered the missing mass graves at the site of Treblinka, one of the Nazis’ most notorious death camps. No actual bodies were found and the graves were not excavated, in keeping with Jewish law, but bones and bone fragments were discovered… Read more »

After string of foiled plots, concerns mount over Iranian-backed terror

WASHINGTON (JTA) — When America’s top intelligence official said that Iran’s regime is considering attacks on U.S. soil, he cited a single incident and qualified the assessment with a “probably.” But intelligence and law enforcement experts say the Jan. 31 warning by the director of national intelligence, James Clapper,… Read more »

Komen reverses course on Planned Parenthood, but supporters still upset

Sen. Joseph Lieberman participates in the Race for the Cure event in Jerusalem with his wife, Hadassah, left, and Komen founder Nancy brinker. (Photo U.S. Embassy Tel Aviv)

NEW YORK (JTA) — It took just hours for the protests against Susan G. Komen for the Cure to begin, and they quickly took on the fury and form of a full-blown movement. Online petitions were started. Calls poured forth to withhold donations from Komen for its de-funding of… Read more »

NCJW applauds Komen Foundation for reversing decision on Planned Parenthood funding

Sen. Joseph Lieberman participates in the Race for the Cure event in Jerusalem in 2010 with his wife. Hadassah, left, and Komen founder Nancy Brinker. (Photo U.S. Embassy Tel Aviv)

February 3, 2012, Washington, DC — The National Council of Jewish Women (NCJW) today commended the Susan G. Komen for the Cure® foundation for reversing its decision to defund cancer screenings performed by Planned Parenthood. NCJW CEO Nancy K. Kaufman released the following statement: “NCJW was deeply disappointed when… Read more »

For some schoolkids in southern Italy, meeting their first Jew on Holocaust Day

Amendolara Mayor Salvatore Antonio Ciminelli, left, standing next to JTA's Ruth Ellen Gruber, after presenting award certificates to some of the 100 schoolchildren who attended a Holocaust Memorial Day ceremony in the town hall, Jan. 27, 2012. The children received awards for art or writing projects about the Shoah. (Photo courtesy Amendolara Town Hall)

AMENDOLARA, Italy (JTA) — It was International Holocaust Memorial Day, and when I told my audience that I was a Jew, they burst into applause. I was speaking at the City Hall in this ancient seacoast town in Calabria, deep in southern Italy on the instep of the Italian… Read more »

On Iranian nuclear issue, mixed signals proliferate

Iranian Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi, seen here addressing a regional economic summit in Tehran in May 2011, says he is "optimistic" that nuclear inspectors will not find anything amiss this week during their visit to the country. (Parmida Rahimi via Creative Commons)

WASHINGTON (JTA) — Israel, the United States and Iran have all gone deep into mixed-signals territory. Conversations with Israeli officials, including Defense Minister Ehud Barak, left one prominent journalist convinced that Israel will strike Iran by year’s end. Yet two weeks ago, Barak had said that any possible Israeli… Read more »

Controversy grows in Israel over extension of Tal Law granting haredim army exemptions

Soldiers from the Israeli army's haredi Orthodox unit called the Netzah Yehuda Battalion praying. (Abir Sultan/Flash90/JTA)

JERUSALEM (JTA) — When Israel’s first prime minister, David Ben-Gurion, granted a few hundred haredi Orthodox Jews an exemption from army service, it’s likely he never dreamed that 63 years later, tens of thousands of haredi Israelis would claim the exemption — or that the issue would be among… Read more »

In Jewish fracking debate, it’s the environment vs. energy independence — and energy’s winning

Activists connected to Jews Against Hydrofracking demonstrating in New Jersey on Nov. 21. (Jews Against Hydrofracking)

NEW YORK (JTA) – To frack or not to frack? As concerns mount over the environmental and public health consequences of hydraulic fracturing, known as fracking, Jewish groups are coalescing around a strategy that supports efforts to extract natural gas from shale rock while seeking to mitigate its worst… Read more »

Seeking Kin: Tracing a group of refugees, from Europe to Cyprus to Palestine to East Africa

Peter Keeda, an Australian retiree, stumbled upon the story of a group of Jewish refugees from Nazi Europe who were sent by the British from Cyprus to Palestine and later to East Africa. (Courtesy Peter Keeda)

The “Seeking Kin” column aims to help reunite long-lost friends and relatives. BALTIMORE (JTA) — A virtually unknown episode in prestate Israel grabbed Peter Keeda last year and won’t let go: the British government’s June 1941 shipment of 384 European Jews from Cyprus to Palestine. They and 39 others… Read more »

Tucsonans fare well at Pan American Maccabi Games in Brazil

Tucsonan Josh Landau, left in second row, with teammates at the opening ceremony of the Pan American Maccabi Games in Brazil.

Sao Paolo, Brazil, is “a weird place,” with the most skyscrapers in the world but also teeming slums, says Tucsonan Josh Landau, who was there for the 12th annual Pan American Maccabi Games, held Dec. 26-Jan. 2. “We were staying in a really nice four-star hotel and you look… Read more »

Arizona Centennial: Cemeteries reveal history of years gone by

It’s not morbid, it’s history. For a state that’s nearly 100 years old, Arizona has no shortage of fascinating stories, many of which can be found in our historic Jewish cemeteries. Evergreen Cemetery in Tucson contains the grave sites of the men and women that figure prominently in the… Read more »